SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Within the next few weeks, the hulking red mall that sat on Pier 17 for nearly 30 years will be completely demolished, officials said Thursday, setting the stage for the iconic pier itself to be torn down as well.
Several months after demolition began, just a shell of the longtime South Street Seaport fixture remains on the pier, which is slated for a multimillion-dollar overhaul, transforming the space into a sleek, glass structure filled with yet-to-be announced high-end stores and restaurants.
Once the mall is fully torn down, demolition will begin on the pier, a process that will take several months, said Adam Meister, a vice-president of development for the Howard Hughes Corporation, the pier’s owner.
Once demolition is complete, reconstruction will begin, with an aim to open in 2016, he said.
Meister said the designer of the space, George Pasquarelli, of SHoP Architects, is creating the new center with New Yorkers in mind — as opposed to the tourist-laden Seaport mall of the past.
“This was place that for many years was focused on tourists, Pasquarelli told reporters Thursday during a boat tour around the soon-to-be demolished pier. “But we want to build a space here in response to the history and energy of the neighborhood, a place that New Yorkers and people from all over the world will want to see and enjoy.”
Howard Hughes has not yet announced tenants for the 3-story space, which will also include a large public lawn and outdoor theater area with space for hundreds of visitors, and representatives declined to discuss the progress of the mall's leasing.
Meister and Pasquarelli also declined to comment about the redevelopment of the abandoned Fulton Fish Market warehouses that sit next to the pier, a controversial project that includes a soaring, luxury residential high-rise tower.
Howard Hughes has been in talks for the past several months with community leaders and local officials about the plans for the Fulton Fish Market, in meetings that have been closed to the public. Guidelines from the Seaport Working group will finally be discussed on June 2, at 6 p.m. meeting in the community room of Southbridge Towers, at 90 Beekman St.